The nation’s largest retailer-owned cooperative is the latest grocer to experiment with micro-fulfillment technology.
Wakefern Food Corp. is piloting the Kardex Remstar Shuttle XP Vertical Lift Module (VLM) storage solution at a location operating under the ShopRite banner in Kingston, N.Y., in an effort to enhance the store’s online shopping service. The Kardex solution is an example of micro-fulfillment technology, which uses automated bots to retrieve grocery items from a compact storage center for streamlined picking.
Grocers including Walmart, Albertsons, and Instacart have been piloting micro-fulfillment systems. In addition, Kroger is partnering with U.K.-based online grocer Ocado to develop a network of automated micro-fulfillment facilities, known as customer fulfillment centers (CFCs), across the U.S.
Kardex Remstar Shuttle XP is designed to maximize space and offer high-capacity storage. Grocery orders are stored in totes on the trays located within the unit, and the Shuttle XP automatically delivers those totes based on an order barcode scan when the customer arrives for pickup. The machine can also deliver orders when a customer checks in for curbside pick-up.
According to Kardex, the Shuttle XP increases storage capability by five times while reducing order errors and customer wait times. The system also increases slot capacity for stores with limited online shopping space. The Kingston store is piloting the solution in its ShopRite from Home department.
“We are excited to use the Kardex Remstar Shuttle XP as another tool to enhance online shopping service,” said Steve Henig, Wakefern chief customer officer. “Our ShopRite from Home online shopping service is one of the fastest growing parts of our business and we are always looking for ways to streamline the online shopping process for our customers.”
“The Shuttle XP is a great solution for managing online orders in a small area,” said Mark Dunaway, president of North America operations for Kardex Remstar. “Our collaboration with ShopRite and Wakefern is a good example of how leveraging automation and technology can provide an enhanced customer experience.”
ShopRite is a registered trademark of Wakefern Food Corp., a retailer-owned cooperative based in Keasbey, N.J., and the largest supermarket cooperative in the U.S. with 362 independently-owned and operated supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage, and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. There are nearly 280 ShopRite supermarkets located throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland.